Scientists Have Found Thousands of New Microbial Communities That Live in ‚Healthy‘ People

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They incidentally found 54 bacterial species—as well as fungi and viruses—we didn’t know lived inside us.

By Caroline Haskins | MOTHERBOARD

Harvard researchers just discovered not only 54 bacterial species previously unknown to be living in our bodies, but networks of viruses, fungi, and archaea that help in everyday human functioning by providing nutrients and fighting infections.

The study, published in Nature, sought to establish a baseline for the North American „microbiome,“ or the trillions of microscopic organisms in every corner of your body.

While the study provides us with the best understanding to date on our microbiome, the paper says that „the full complement of extant microbial genes has not yet been sequenced.“

Basically, we still don’t know exactly what’s living inside us.

Harvard researchers collaborated with the Human Microbiome Project, which aims to understand the relationship between human health and this cohort of microorganisms. Using 1,631 body samples from 18 different sites in women and 15 in men, they determined which species make up individual microbiomes on the body (say, the microbes that live in your stomach versus the ones that live in your nostril) and how these microbes communicate with human cells and with each other.

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